The Douglas County School System is bidding farewell to 86 employees who are retiring this year.

Retiring employees recently dropped by the school system’s former central office in shifts to pick up plaques and gift bags containing DCSS mementos and a gift card, said Portia Lake, director of public information for the school system.

Superintendent Trent North shared “encouraging words” and took pictures with each group of employees, Lake said.

Amy Baker, a second grade teacher at Annette Winn Elementary, is among this year’s retirees.

“I have truly enjoyed working for the Douglas County School System,” Baker said. “I am thankful for the opportunity and support over the years. I have been blessed to work with so many caring people. I will miss my school family and students. It has been a privilege to teach so many wonderful students.”

Annette Winn Principal Dr. Sherritta Abell said of Baker: “A long-time member of the AWES family, she is a master at teaching ELA/Reading. Mrs. Baker is loved by her students, both past and present. Her positive spirit is calming for both students and adults.”

Dr. Dianna Johnson, CTAE business education teacher and FBLA advisor at Douglas County High School, served in the district for 26 years and is retiring this year.

“Dr. Johnson is one of those teachers who is always on board and willing to help wherever,” said DCHS Principal Andre Weaver. “She has sooo many skills beyond teaching — we will sincerely miss those intangibles. Her love and dedication and vision for our business department has helped DCHS get to new heights.”

Johnson said: “I have enjoyed working in the Douglas County School System. I will miss my work family. My co-workers in the Business Department make coming to work fun. It has been so rewarding to watch my students grow and mature as they go from freshman to seniors. As the adviser for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organization, I take much pride in the small part I have played in shaping our future leaders.”

Sheila Squire, library media specialist at Mt. Carmel Elementary School, is retiring after 38 years in education.

“I have truly enjoyed working for the Douglas County School System,” Squire said. “I have been blessed to call Mt. Carmel my home away from home for the last 20 years of my 38 years in education. I will miss my school family and the time I spent with the students in the media center. Thank you all for the wonderful memories!”

Mt. Carmel Principal Marco Holland said: “Mrs. Squire has had an enduring positive impact on the hearts and minds of our school community. Her commitment to student development is continually reflected in the pride that she takes in making the media center a place where students discover their passion and cultivate a love for reading. We are eternally grateful for the lasting legacy of teaching, learning, and caring that Mrs. Squire has established at Mount Carmel Elementary School”

April Gaines, assistant principal at Mason Creek Elementary School, is retiring after 29 years in education.

Principal Kristin Martin said: “Ms. Gaines has been a valuable member of our Mason Creek family. She will certainly be missed, but never forgotten! I want to not only congratulate her on her retirement, but also on all of the incredible years of work she has put in with the Douglas County School System. She deserves all the fun and relaxation coming her way! I truly wish her the best!”

“It has been a joy to serve the students and staff of Douglas County throughout my entire career,” Gaines said. “I have loved watching the students grow in maturity, academics and social skills. I have always appreciated the hugs, smiles and gratitude of the students and their families. It has been a blessing to work with so many wonderful people over the years. Take care and be kind!”

Christina Herrington, coding teacher at Turner Middle School, is retiring after nearly 14 years of service.

Turner Principal Darron Franklin shared these kind words about Herrington:

“Christina Herrington enriched the culture, climate and classrooms of Turner Middle School with her varied background from serving in the Air Force to her prowess as a scuba diver,” Franklin said. “She taught math and served as the inaugural computer science teacher at TMS. Her infectious personality and motivating energy captivated students’ attention and garnered their partnership in her classroom. She was a complete and total team player supporting students in a wide array of activities. Ms. Herrington made an indelible mark on the students and staff at Turner Middle School. We are so blessed to have been graced by her presence. Even in her retirement and without provocation, she is still giving back to TMS by being willing to train the next computer science teacher. All blessings go to her for her servant mindset. Congratulations, Christina Herrington. We love you.”